The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers - fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago. Their challenge back then was not a race as such, but recording the fastest time between ports. This meant new levels of pride for themselves and great recognition for their vessel.
The spirit that drove those commercial sailors along the web of trade routes, deep into the bleak latitudes of the Southern Ocean and around the world’s most dangerous capes, emerges today in the form of the Volvo Ocean Race, a contest now seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. The re-badged Volvo Ocean Race was run for the first time in 2001-02. Today it is, quite simply, the 'Everest of Sailing’.
During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concludes in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012, the teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient. Each of the entries has a sailing team of 11 professional crew and the race requires their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. They will each take on different jobs onboard the boat and on top of these sailing roles, there will be two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sailmaker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.